A new state law gives local governments the authority to allow voters to decide whether retail stores may sell alcoholic beverages on Sundays from 12:30-11:30 p.m.
Like many other communities in Georgia, Richmond County passed on the first opportunity to pose the question to voters – Nov. 8 – to save money.
Board of Elections Executive Director Lynn Bailey said because Augusta didn’t have anything on the November ballot, it would have cost $80,000 to $90,000 to hold an election for the single issue of Sunday alcohol sales.
“It doesn’t cost a dime if we do it in March,” Bailey said.
The March 6 election is the Presidential Preference Primary.
The Democratic ballot will list President Obama.
On Wednesday, Bailey received the list for the Republican ballot: Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Buddy Roemer, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.
Bailey said voters will have a choice of three ballots _ Democrat, Republican or nonpartisan. The nonpartisan ballot will only contain two questions, while the Democrat and Republican ballots will have the two questions and a choice of presidential candidates.
In addition to selecting presidential preference, voters will weigh in on Sunday alcohol sales and the continuation of a special sales tax for the Richmond County Board of Education.
The school board seeks to extend the sales tax to raise up to $225 million from 2013 through 2017. The money is to be used to build facilities; renovate, repair and demolish existing buildings; and purchase textbooks, technology equipment and school buses.
If approved, the sales tax would fund $20 million to replace classroom wings and make other improvements at George P. Butler High School, $15 million to replace wood buildings at 50-year-old Murphey Middle School, and $12 million for Glenn Hills High School to renovate the baseball field, build a gym and create Junior ROTC wings. Lucy C. Laney High School would get $20 million to replace classroom wings, build a cafeteria and renovate the gym, among other projects.
Friday is the last day to add items to the March 6 ballot.
Anyone who wishes to register to vote must do so by Feb. 6 to participate in the March election. Any resident who is a U.S. citizen and 18 years of age or older may register. Any resident who has been convicted of a felony crime may register to vote or re-register to vote when the sentence imposed is completed.